There are a select few people who will be now be able to bypass the Canadian border restrictions that have been in place since mid-March.
After hinting for some weeks that he would be taking some action to reunite families that were separated by pandemic travel restrictions, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today confirmed that family members of Canadians citizens or permanent residents will be permitted to come to Canada, even if they themselves do not hold any legal status here.
In this case, according to the Canada Border Services Agency, an immediate family member is defined as a spouse or common-law partner; a dependent child of the Canadian resident or of their spouse or common-law partner, or a dependent child of a dependent child; a parent, step-parent, or parent or step-parent of the Canadian’s spouse or common-law partner; or a guardian or tutor.
“This is an incredibly difficult time to be apart from a spouse, a child or mom and dad,” the PM said at his media briefing on Monday. “That’s why we’re bringing in a limited exemption to allow immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada.”
The rule will take effect at 12 a.m. on Tuesday morning, and will only apply to those in good health who do not have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or any symptoms of the infectious disease.
Trudeau also reiterated that any new arrivals will have to strictly isolate themselves for 14 days, or else face serious penalties under the federal Quarantine Act.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mandicino added that the change is not meant for people to take repeated trips, or cross the border simply for an event or special occassion.
At the end of last month, Ontario Premier Doug Ford expressed his support of the idea. “I always want to keep a right border and more screening at the border but family reunification is so important to all of us, I think it’s absolutely critical,” he said in a press conference on May 29.
“I support what the Prime Minister is recommending, it’s a relatively small group I hear and nothing is more important than family in these situations.”